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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Compare and Contrast British and Spanish Settlements in the Americas Britain and Spain were among several powerful Western European countries that were involved in the exploration of the New Lands. Columbus initiated the trend, through which in search of the Spice Islands off the coast of China, discovered a new world…
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Download file to see previous pages... The two nations participated in colonization of the Americas, although they were driven by different agendas as dictated by their environment. Comparisons made between the two as far as patterns of colonization demonstrate the existence of significant differences. There were similarities, such as the use of the New Lands to further their mercantile ideologies. Both also ravaged the native peoples of the Americas, which set on course cultural destruction and disruption. However, both nations would lose their colonies by the early 19th century as independent settler communities were established. How were their objectives for finding these settlements similar or different? The objectives of the Spanish and British colonizers were starkly different apart from their goal of advancing their mercantile ideologies. The Spanish colonized and settled in the New Lands primarily as conquerors with the political system that they set up being entirely autocratic and centered on furthering the Spanish motherland (Elliott 37). After they had conquered the lands, they proceeded to loot vast resources. Spain viewed the new lands that it colonized as an object whose only use was for the furthering of its mercantile objectives. This was evident in the large number of ships that travelled from Spanish America to Spain laden with gold, silver, and other valuables. Since it was their sole objective, Spain gave minimal rights of self-rule to their colonies, instead dictating the policies governing them from the Spanish mainland (Elliott 38). The British settled peacefully rather than as conquerors into the new Lands. They migrated to these lands with the sole objectives of economic opportunity, political freedom, and independence. Because England had a long tradition of partial representation, their colonies were able to achieve some self-government with a form of assembly that was representative of the settlers. Why did they choose the locations for their first towns? What criticisms have been directed toward their selection of these sites by present-day scholars? The first town established by the British was Jamestown in Virginia in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London, a joint-stock company chartered by James I. They chose this location in the hope of reaping quick profits from the settlements followed by liquidation of the company in the next few years (Elliott 40). In Jamestown, the colonists were able to enjoy similar rights to Englishmen as guaranteed by the Virginia Company charter. The town’s establishment had the short-term goal of reaping revenue from the British settlements in the Americas. In contrast, the first towns in the Spanish colony at Hispaniola had longer-term goals. Established in 1493 by Columbus, its purpose was the division of profits and a launch pad for further American exploration. This purpose became even more entrenched when they discovered vast metallic minerals in the New Lands. When the town and its surrounding colony were unable to give the desired revenues, Columbus as governor instituted encomienda, a policy where natives were granted land to convert to Christianity (Elliott 41). The towns fulfilled their purpose as exploration bases with numerous expeditions leaving the towns for the Americas. What was the population composition of these settlements in terms of gender, educational background or training, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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